Ronan O’Gara has been named as captain for the British & Irish Lions’ clash against the Emerging Springboks at Newlands in Cape Town on Tuesday.
"Ronan O'Gara will lead the team against the Emerging Springboks which is a well deserved honor for a senior player who has served Munster, Ireland and the British & Irish Lions with distinction," said Head coach Ian McGeechan.
O'Gara's half-back partner will be Leicester's Harry Ellis, while Tim Payne - having just been called up to the squad - is set to start the encounter in the front row, alongside Ross Ford and another relative newcomer, John Hayes.
"The two latest squad members Tim Payne and John Hayes will start against the Emerging Springboks to give them immediate field time," explained McGeechan. "This is important in terms of the balance of the squad as three of our other props played in the Test match only two days ago and Andrew Sheridan is recovering from injury."
Ugo Monye, who was highly disappointed to have missed a chance to score what could have been a crucial try in the defeat to South Africa on Saturday, has been selected on the bench. Shane Williams and Luke Fitzgerald will start on the wings for Tuesday's battle.
James Hook, meanwhile, is healthy enough take a place amongst the replacements after being examined by a neurologist on Monday, following on from the head injury he sustained last week.
McGeechan is determined to stay positive ahead of Saturday's second Test, following the disappointment of the 26-21 defeat to South Africa at King's Park on Saturday.
"There were many positives that came out of the Test match on Saturday," McGeechan said. "The Emerging Springboks match, and our training this week, will allow us to build on these plus address areas we know we need to improve on. There is still a lot to play for and the players are well aware of that.
"The mood in camp is still very positive due to the fact that we did come very close to winning on Saturday and the fact that we created so many scoring opportunities. The players are well aware of the importance of the match tomorrow against the Emerging Springboks. We need to step up our performance against a talented outfit whose players, like ours, will be determined to show that they are worthy of a Test place. It should be a great match."
Lions XV v Emerging Springboks: K Earls; S Williams, R Flutey, G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; R O'Gara (capt.), H Ellis; T Payne, R Ford, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, N Hines; J Worsley, M Williams, A Powell.
Replacements: L Mears, P Vickery, S Shaw, D Wallace, M Blair, J Hook, U Monye.
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